The Professor and the Mad Man by Simon Winchester Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Professor and the Madman; A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester; HarperCollins, 1999.  242 pages; $15.99 (paperback); reading level:  adult. In 1634, the French established the Académie Française to catalogue, and keep a watchful eye on, their language.  It wasn’t until 1857 that Richard Chenevix… [Read More]

Cyrus Field’s Big Dream; The Daring Effort to Lay the First Transatlantic Telegraph Cable by Mary Morton Cowan Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Cyrus Field’s Big Dream; The Daring Effort to Lay the First Transatlantic Telegraph Cable by Mary Morton Cowan; Calkins Creek, 2018. 224 pages; $19.95 (hardcover); reading level: grades 4-12. Cyrus Field didn’t know the first thing about telegraphs when he retired from running a successful paper mill in 1853. But when his “big dream” took hold,… [Read More]

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu; and Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer; Simon & Schuster, 2016.  279 pages (hardcover); reading level: adult. Hammer has to lay a lot of groundwork before he gets to the “bad-ass” rescue promised in the title.  He puts events a relatively well-informed reader might… [Read More]

They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine. Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016. 290 pages; $26.00 (hardcover); reading level: adult. Only a seasoned writer could have pulled this one off: As I read Schine’s clear-eyed novel, I laughed and cried at the same time. I cried with the protagonist, eighty-six-year-old… [Read More]

Bellevue by David Oshinsky Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Bellevue; Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital by David Oshinsky; Doubleday, 2016. 387 pages; $30.00 (hardcover); reading level: adult. As the subtitle promises, this history of New York City’s oldest public hospital is far from dry. Following Bellevue from its beginnings as an almshouse established in the early 1700s to… [Read More]

On My Reading List – September 2018 through June 2019…

Early each year I pick out the books I’ll be reading with my Book Discussion Group for the coming year. We read nine books from September through June, three nonfiction and six fiction. After reading reviews, getting opinions from readers I trust, and scanning classics I might have missed, here are the titles I’ve come… [Read More]

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich; Random House, 2017. 308 pages; $27.00 (hardcover); reading level: adult. The central act of Ruskovich’s graceful first novel – the murder, on an Idaho mountain, of 6-year-old May by her mother, Jenny – has already taken place when we begin reading. We are haunted by two questions: Why did Jenny (who… [Read More]

A Preview of The Books On My Fall 2017 Reading List (Updated). See Why I Chose Them and Reviews Will Follow!

I’m still working through the reading list I put together last year but I can’t resist starting a new pile of must-reads to be tackled in the fall of 2017. Check out the first three titles on my list, see what you think, and watch for my reviews which will be posted on my website… [Read More]

Ben-Gurion; Father of Modern Israel by Anita Shapira Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Ben-Gurion; Father of Modern Israel by Anita Shapira; translated from the Hebrew by Anthony Berris. Yale University Press, 2014. 276 pages; $25.00 (hardcover); reading level: adult. In the first four chapters of this biography, David Ben-Gurion is born David Green in Plonsk, Poland, travels to Warsaw to attend high school (only to be rejected for… [Read More]

The Water Princess by Susan Verde Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Water Princess by Susan Verde; illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2016.  42 pages; $17.99 (hardcover); reading level:  ages 4-8. Gie Gie, a princess in her parents’ eyes, surveys her kingdom: the African sky, the wild dogs, the tall grass, and the dusty earth. Not part of her kingdom is water,… [Read More]